February 26, 2014

Does the Bittman-Freudenberg contingent — the politico-journo-academic complex — realize that its playbook sets the strategy for restrictions on sexual behavior?

You've got to read the previous post to know what I mean by "the Bittman-Freudenberg contingent" and "the politico-journo-academic complex" and its "playbook." Basically, it's propaganda justifying the government's taking control over and restricting individual freedom of choice about engaging in activities that can damage the human body, even where the human being who wants to do such things can take precautions and exercise restraint to reduce the risk of harm and especially with respect to behavior that is urged on by the less intellectual and so-called "reptilian" parts of the brain.

Bittman and Freudenberg were talking about guns, cars, smoking, food, and drink — the things those with leftish leanings feel that government ought to control. But their playbook for supervening individual choice for the sake of better quality health can be followed just as well by those who lean in the social-conservative direction and want government control of sexual behavior. If the individual mind isn't capable of rationally assessing the risk and gives in to urges from the "reptilian" brain and if there's a higher right — a right of the public, generally — to good health, then, considering the ravages of sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, and psychological damage, one could justify outlawing all sex outside of marriage.

The leftish contingent will push back and say that the difference is: commercial products. What's really bad — what really bugs them — is corporations selling things and making money, taking advantage of the weak-minded consumers who should be making better decisions but buy that potentially health-damaging stuff anyway.

Right-wing users of the politico-journo-academic playbook have 2 options: 1. Deride the lefties' instinctive corporation-phobia (doesn't it spring from the "reptilian" brain zone?), or 2. Point to the corporations that sell sex, that stimulate the lower brains of all little people out there in the dark to think that they want sex, more sex, with many different partners, beginning at an early age, transcending all the traditional bounds of marriage and conventional decency.

And what about abortion? Abortion can be the better health choice for the woman, since early abortion is — I think the experts say — less dangerous to the woman than going through pregnancy and childbirth. Following the Bittman-Freudenberg playbook, we could argue for required early abortion, especially where the higher-brained experts predict that the would-be mother would not raise a healthy child. (Can she cook?)  That same playbook would yield arguments for banning abortion later on, when completing the pregnancy is less dangerous.

And what of the right to abortion? The right of the individual to make her own choice about whether to have an abortion is premised on the idea of the woman's resolving what the Supreme Court called "philosophic questions," making "choices central to personal dignity and autonomy," exercising what it called the "right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe."

You can climb down from that cloud very easily with the help of the Bittman-Freudenberg playbook, which assumes away the individual as philosopher. In the scheme of that playbook, it's undoubtedly only the instinctive, lower-brained, reptile of a woman who feels an instinct to have a child or to rid herself of a pregnancy. Under government control, real and truly brainy philosophers could be hired to hammer out the regulations.

72 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

The essential values of your "Bittman-Freudenberg contingent" (BFC) are communitarian. The community benefits when the individuals are forced to behave. That's how you connect the BFC to right-wingers who deride porn and all that.

Is abortion a communitarian thing? Fewer babies spell the end of Social Security and Medicare, and eventual demographic collapse.

No, the motive of the BFC is not communitarian. It is hatred of the human species.

It's not a replacement of individual thinking with government control. They really want us dead. Dolphins and owls can rule the planet. They'll enjoy the show.

mccullough said...

The desire to control other people is reptilian

cubanbob said...

"The leftish contingent will push back and say that the difference is: commercial products. What's really bad — what really bugs them — is corporations selling things and making money, taking advantage of the weak-minded consumers who should be making better decisions but buy that potentially health-damaging stuff anyway."

Like the NYT. As for abortions since Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are funded by payroll taxes to keep those programs from collapsing we will need more future workers hence abortion must be curbed. It's the logical conclusion from the clowns at the NYT editorial pages position.

Bob Ellison said...

cubanbob, China is collapsing demographically as we type. Stupid philosophies can go on and on until nations and civilizations just die.

Heather said...

Abortion is different. It is not about controlling women's behavior. It is about saving a life to the pro-life people. If you use a condom, I don't care who you screw.

Pookie Number 2 said...

Like Heather, I don't care with whom one copulates.

I do think it's fascinating that Althouse didn't (couldn't bring herself to?) even acknowledge another example of sexual behaviour that conveys health risks.

dbp said...

I've been using this sort of jujitsu on liberals for some time: For instance:

They will take the tack that school shootings could not happen if there were no guns. I reply that if the goal is to reduce harm and we do not care about constitutional rights, couldn't we accomplish the same thing more easily by banning reporting on school shootings?

Now, they can be the ones put in a position of defending some abstract right at the expense of children's lives.

Peter said...

" What's really bad — what really bugs them — is corporations selling things and making money, taking advantage of the weak-minded consumers who should be making better decisions but buy that potentially health-damaging stuff anyway.

Arguably gambling creates serious behavioral problems for those who can't control it.

Perhaps the reason why the Left does not complain about legal gambling is because so much of it is controlled by Indian tribes, and the Left sees this as justified (partial) payback for historical European aggression against the them.

On the Right, this exposes the split between the Libertarian Right and the Social Conservative Right.

Except that even Libertarians might be unhappy if costs from the unhealthy products are socialized, so that one person's bad choices become an expense for all.

Larry J said...

Deride the lefties' instinctive corporation-phobia (doesn't it spring from the "reptilian" brain zone?),

No, I think it springs from their pseudo-Marxist/Socialist education. To them, government is good but only if they're the ones in power. Corporations are evil because they deliver goods and services people are willing to buy without the cohersion of government. May God forbid, but should a revolution come to America, regardless of the outcome, these are the people most likely to be stood up against a wall and shot (and for good reason).

virgil xenophon said...

And just where does the "Bittman-Freudenberg contingent" think they fit within the "political-journo-academic" complex and its "playbook" schema?

I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count..

Shouting Thomas said...

Something has to be created in the place of family tradition and religious indoctrination.

I see you, prof, as a player in the destruction of tradition and religious indoctrination... for the purpose of aggrandizing yourself.

We're looking for new mechanisms to govern sexual behavior because people like you, professor, deliberately destroyed traditions that worked for humans for centuries. You used the language of "rights" to do that, too.

I see you quite clearly as one of the authors of the problem you're now lamenting.

Amusingly, you've been walking back the great "reforms" to "liberate" women you once advocated, as it becomes obvious that human nature isn't quite as malleable as you thought when you were a kid.

Some years hence, I suspect you will have to fix the problems caused by your conviction that the traditional role of gays in society was something you needed to fix.

Your vanity over your IQ demands that the world be remade so that you have systemic problems to fix.

Laslo Spatula said...

At the base level all advertising is about sex. Power tools = sex. Skin lotion = sex. Milk = you know that the milk moustache isn't really representing 'milk,' don't you? They want a world where the Government does all the advertising, for only products and services of which Government approves. With sex removed from advertising we will be chaste workers, diligent and with a common goal. That is not yogurt on that spoon, my friend.


campy said...

its playbook sets the strategy for restrictions on sexual behavior?


So what? It's not like the US will ever have a rightist government again.

Laslo Spatula said...

The government will approve or disapprove of all sexual partners, and of the sexual practices they can and cannot do. As a Nation we can only handle so many hamstring pulls at any given time. Oddly, government is all good with handcuffs in bed. Restraint.

Larry J said...

Arguably gambling creates serious behavioral problems for those who can't control it.

For a lot of people, the problems caused by gambling are quite real. I used to work for a man who started a company and grew it to 600 employees doing $60 million a year in business. He sold the company, moved to Vegas and proceeded to lose it all. I couldn't find the article online anymore, but he once lost $13 million in a single day. He was a good boss but the man had a serious gambling problem. He died broke three years ago.

Bob Ellison said...

Shouting Thomas, you make a few points, although badly and with too much insulting and baiting. (You're a musician, right? Me, too. Don't quote Parker too often, lest ye be called a hack.)

Whence comes morality, without a God? Most people, both religious and non, ponder this question.

My philosophy is that I don't like to see people suffer unnecessarily, and I wish that everyone could get along. I don't know why I live morally, since I'm not religious. I just try.

Shouting Thomas, you've talked about your family and your music. Why do you try?

Seeing Red said...

Abortions raise the incidence of breast cancer.

The government now owns 1/6th of the economy. It will be seen as patriotic to report on your neighbor eating Cheetos.

virgil xenophon said...

@Laslo Spatula/

Yes, with all advertising run by the Government the re-emergence of the good, sober, clean-living tobacco-free Stakhanovite along with glorifying posters will not take long.

Laslo Spatula said...

Re: "My philosophy is that I don't like to see people suffer unnecessarily..."

Sure: take all the fun out of life.

Seeing Red said...

Besides no one ever really talks about the costs of STDs on the national pocketbook. We will have to kill the old, week, and young to support it.

But that's ok, cos human like is just another figure in the ledger.

virgil xenophon said...

@Seeing Red/

They'll report on my consuming "mass quantities" of Cheetos?

OMG! I'm Doomed!

Shouting Thomas said...

Speaking of STDs, I worked for the last decade of my career in multimedia, mostly in clinical trial for pharma.

AIDS research is funded at astronomical levels. Sky's the limit for the intrepid grant seeker.

Illuninati said...

Great analysis Ms. Althouse.

cubanbob said...

"Yes, with all advertising run by the Government the re-emergence of the good, sober, clean-living tobacco-free Stakhanovite along with glorifying posters will not take long."

Virgil obviously you are not a government bean counter. No smoking means no tobacco sin taxes and no smoking means no early deaths hence an increase retirement expenses. There is a reason the progressive-fascists haven't outlawed smoking.

Laslo Spatula said...

Ma'am, that is an unregistered vagina.

chickenlittle said...

Herpetology is the study of things reptilian and creepy. Its followers are lesion.

Michael K said...

" If you use a condom, I don't care who you screw."

That is the Sin of Onana. We can't have that.

However, when Onan had sex with Tamar, he withdrew before climax[3] and "spilled his seed [or semen] on the ground", since any child born would not legally be considered his heir

That was before condoms were invented.

Outlaw this !

Laslo Spatula said...

Sir, your penis is not authorized for that behavior.

traditionalguy said...

The Philosophers of Medical Ethics are already flooding the land with empathetic drivel of death planning philosophy for the costly older family members. and like all good executioner teams they hide behind membership in an anonymous Panel of similar liars to recieve a hit man's career pay.

Hagar said...

How about Huxley's "Brave New World"?
Harvest eggs and semen at puberty, sterilize the kids, and select the eggs and sperm to combine and raise in government labs and children's homes.

RecChief said...

Peter said...
"Arguably gambling creates serious behavioral problems for those who can't control it.

Perhaps the reason why the Left does not complain about legal gambling is because so much of it is controlled by Indian tribes,"

In my state, there is only one tribal casino that I know of. The rest are licensed by the state to private gaming corporations. The reason that the Left in this state wants to license even more is because the state receives a huge chunk of money that can spent on leftist pet social programs.

I worked at a casino as security to make extra money to pay for a new roof. It's amazing that there is a huge influx of people that show up the day that federal and state benefits are paid out, and then tapers off until the next distribution.

Also, state run gambling enterprises are a tax on the poor. It was rare that you would see upper middle class folks in the casino. But the poor and retired are fixtures. And the house always wins.

Seeing Red said...

Head slap I can't believe I wrote week instead of weak! I know better than that. Darn autocorrect.

Seeing Red said...

Who says the upper middle class aren't part of the retireds? They have the money.

Seeing Red said...

Neat trick, pay entitlements to the poor get them back by gambling & sin taxes.

Michael K said...

Somebody on the previous thread mentioned hospital doctors forcing treatment on patients. This is a real temptation for some people. When I was a resident, we had this woman come in with a perforated diverticulum. She had all the findings but she refused surgery. An intern was horrified at this. I accepted her decision. Later in the day, she lost consciousness and he wanted me to operate on her now. I told him she had made the decision when she was conscious and I respected it.

She died a few hours later. It is tempting. I'm sure we could have saved her.

Years later, a priest friend of mine was called to see a man in the ICU. The wife wanted the last rites administered. When the priest got there, the man said he thought he was going to make it and declined the last rites. The priest accepted this and left. Later the guy lost consciousness and the wife wanted the priest to come back and do it then. He declined using the same argument I had used.

The guy died and she complained to the bishop.

Same philosophy but the NYT probably would not agree although I doubt they care about last rites.

RecChief said...

seeing red - I know its a leap, but trust me on this, the majority of those were definitely not from the upper middle class.

virgil xenophon said...

@cubanbob/

LOL. I'm well aware, I know, I know. I remember once years ago in the early stages of the anti-tobacco campaign a N. Carolina tobacco farmer being interviewed about whether his crops were detrimental to society and he replied: "Detrimental?" My crops are as valuable to the U. S. Govt as Fort Knox. They should have the 82nd Airborne down here guarding my crops for the value of all the taxes they generate, that's what!"

t-man said...

How many injuries are caused by sports? Why should we let people ski? Bike ride for fun? There are safer ways to get exercise.

How many people are sickened by food improperly prepared at home? Why are we allowing are children to be fed, day in and day out, with food prepared in kitchens that have not been inspected by the government?

There is no end to this madness.

What is the F----in' purpose of life? To sit around and be "safe" and engage only in government-approved activities?

It has come to the point where I think Freudenberg et al. deserve a bullet in the head.

virgil xenophon said...

PS to cubanbob/

About early deaths? Yes, the SS Admin absoluyely depends on them. In fact they have the some 400,000/yr smoking deaths plugged into their budget projections. It can be argued that net/net the govt comes out ahead from having a smoking populace in re med expenses vs retirement payouts not made..

Seeing Red said...

women's world. They can't fight their biology. Safe & secure.

Have a toke.

virgil xenophon said...

By-the-by, does anybody here see any irony in society now encouraging the smoking of marijuana while at the same time campaigning against the use of tobacco?

Sofa King said...

Well, at least we'll have the three seashells.

Seeing Red said...

If u looked at me, could you tell? I come in dressed like a bum and no make up. Jeans, either flannel shirt or sweatshirt, tennis shoes, no purse, butt bag. My tell is my wedding ring if you saw it. In the Chicago area you could have 2 retired married teachers come in with combined pension income of $150k.

EDH said...

What about the media's influence and the intersection of Hollywood and Porn? Violence too?

Michael K said...
Somebody on the previous thread mentioned hospital doctors forcing treatment on patients.

Or stopping treatment.

Has anyone been following the crazy case in Boston.

Mass. judge sentences Justina Pelletier to foster care

Breaking tonight, more on a story we have been following closely here, the case of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier, taken into Massachusetts State Custody after her parents disagreed with doctors at Boston Children's Hospital over her treatment plan. They believed the doctors at Tufts. Apparently the folks at Boston Children didn't like that. The parents today in Boston Juvenile Court devastated over learning -- the mother being taken out on a stretcher she was so upset -- over learning that their daughter may not go home with them and could soon be placed in foster care facility. Justina's mother actually collapses as we showed you from the news, and brought to a local hospital.

http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/the-kelly-file/transcript/2014/02/25/mass-judge-sentences-justina-pelletier-foster-care

RecChief said...

this from Ace at AOSHQ:

Freedom is always scary. Freedom always carries with it the risk that people will use that freedom for bad ends. That's why it's been so easy, over 200 years, to erode and repeal the freedoms we began with.

Those against freedom prey on this fear and overstate it. And they fight like the Dickens to keep even an experimental program in freedom in a single state from going forward, because they fear the actual facts -- the policy in actual practice -- will not support their Narrative of Fear.

As a hypothetical matter, you could always, without being quite disproven, postulate that if law-abiding citizens were armed with guns, those law-abiding citizens would suddenly become reckless, angry vigilantes just looking for an excuse to plug someone.

But when it's no longer hypothetical -- when there's a factual record to go on -- it's harder to make this case.


You can apply this thinking to a lot of areas.

chrisnavin.com said...

Appreciate the post, Althouse.

Levi Starks said...

Bingo...

Seeing Red said...

Liberty is scary.

Seeing Red said...

RecChief, via Insty today, Michael Baronet has an article about concealed carry.

Michael K said...

"Or stopping treatment.

Has anyone been following the crazy case in Boston."

I have but there seems to be some missing information. The Boston Childrens' people seem to be very high handed when the opposition is Tufts, not some podunk clinic.

Mitochondrial disease are well known and becoming better recognized.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Jul-Aug;1777(7-8):564-78. doi:
10.1016/j.bbabio.2008.03.008. Epub 2008 Mar 25.

Diseases caused by defects of mitochondrial carriers: a review.

Palmieri F.

William said...

If there's one freedom that mankind values above all others, it's the freedom to blame one's bad choices on the machinations of others.

Seeing Red said...

Why the gag order?

The Cracker Emcee said...

If guns weren't dangerous I wouldn't buy them. Duh.

Henry said...

It's worth remembering that what Bittman-Freudenberg want is for the government to stop people from drinking the unhealthy foods that the government subsidizes.

This is Alice in Wonderland territory.

YoungHegelian said...

Well, some far-sighted individuals are honest enough to cut through all the bourgeois nonsense & move right on to the hard task of building Stalinism in one country!

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

No one wants to restrict sexual behaviors, including homosexual behavior; but, there is cause to circumstantially restrict their practice. There needs to be objective, reproducible criteria to determine which behaviors will be normalized, tolerated, and rejected. Most behaviors, including sexual, have no redeeming value to either society or humanity, and therefore do not qualify for normalization. Furthermore, selectively normalizing dysfunctional behaviors creates a moral hazard, when other dysfunctional or merely tolerated behaviors are subject to arbitrary discrimination. It must be all or nothing.

As for women and men's choices, they are to abstain, prevent conception, or accept responsibility for the human life conceived. Human life is not a commodity. It cannot be arbitrarily or selectively terminated throughout its evolution from conception to death without cause or due process. This is the common standard of civilized societies, and with good reason. We cannot enjoy liberty when corruption is sponsored through dissociation of risk; and there is no greater risk posed to society and humanity than devaluing human life.

n.n said...

Bob Ellison:

The Chinese population control protocol has sabotaged the fitness of their population. There is a distinct demographic shift to favor an old, barren population. And unlike America, the Chinese do not invite mass legal or illegal immigration to compensate for the Dodos sentenced by their "intelligent" designers.

Mao was a mere pauper compared to the contemporary progressive regime, which has normalized the abortion of several hundred million Chinese. Americans believe that they can dissociate from the involuntary protocol of their Chinese counterparts. They are wrong. They are both guilty of promoting or tolerating violation of human rights on an unprecedented scale.

RecChief said...

@seeingred - yes I read Barone's piece. And I think he is correct.

The point of my quoting ace was actually the first line, and maybe I should have stopped there. "Freedom is always scary." That is, if you are free to make decisions, some of those decisions may result in adverse consequences and someone must assume responsibility for those consequences. And I think the entire leftist impulse can be boiled down to an adolescent desire to avoid responsibility for one's choices.

cubanbob said...

Michael K said...
Somebody on the previous thread mentioned hospital doctors forcing treatment on patients. This is a real temptation for some people. When I was a resident, we had this woman come in with a perforated diverticulum. She had all the findings but she refused surgery. An intern was horrified at this. I accepted her decision. Later in the day, she lost consciousness and he wanted me to operate on her now. I told him she had made the decision when she was conscious and I respected it."

Micheal K not trying to be a dick but out of curiosity was the patient made aware of the consequences and if so was she capable of understanding them at the time? It isn't clear from what you wrote.

Bob Ellison said...

n.n, yes, that was my point about China.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Michael K,

Dorothy Parker is said to have named her parakeet "Onan," because "he spilled his seed upon the ground."

Smilin' Jack said...

Abortion can be the better health choice for the woman, since early abortion is — I think the experts say — less dangerous to the woman than going through pregnancy and childbirth.

Fuck the woman. Think about the planet. Having children is the worst thing you can do to the planet.

KLDAVIS said...

"Inspired by the most logical race in the galaxy, the Vulcans, breeding will be permitted once every seven years. For many of you, this will mean much less breeding. For me, much, much more."

- Comic Book Guy (not speaking for the Council of Alphas), The Simpsons.

Dr Weevil said...

MDT:

I thought I'd blogged on Onan and generation, but a web-search suggests that I only commented on a Volokh thread 6 1/2 years ago:

"Onan is also (or was in the 1970s) a brand of gas-powered electrical generator, which is rather ironic considering how opposed the Biblical Onan was to generation. My employer back then had a couple of Onan generators in trucks we used to measure air pollution. One of them in a modified GM motor home had a bad habit of blowing its gaskets. One day we came out from a lunch break, saw a puddle of oil under the vehicle in the restaurant parking lot, and someone said 'Looks like old Onan's gone and "spilled his oil upon the ground"'. Half the employees thought that was hilarious and the other half said 'Huh?'. It was one of the few times anyone could ever tell who had had a religious upbrining and who hadn't."

n.n said...

Smilin' Jack:

No, that's the point. Don't fuck the woman. Save the planet.

Women are hosts for destruction of the climate, land, water, and those cute little clumps of cells which cling to decaying masses of organic material.

n.n said...

Bob Ellison:

I second your point. It is worth repeating, if only to remind the intelligent designers of their mass violations of human and civil rights. They don't quite get it and are responsible for more death and destruction than the most popular tyrants. People are fearful of organic development, and have fatefully deferred their dignity and lives to incompetent mortal gods.

Kirk Parker said...

"Why the gag order? "

My question, too. Seems unconscionable.

wildswan said...

There's a lot of people out there who are going to face phenomenal blowback from policies they now support but which have never been compulsory or politicized - public health people, dietitians and such. People who have never ever faced angry public meetings or unfavorable news coverage - but when these laws are implemented it will be those dietitians who will face people calling them "Soda Nazis" and the like. Because none of this will happen unless the local governments punish people who break regulations and these regulations are so petty that people at the neighborhood level will have to enforce them on their neighbors.

Unless of course the regime carries out that plan to put RFID markers under the skin and have people pass through scanners and such and have the NSA computers track what the RFID's say is happening. There's a great TV show on Amazon called The Last Enemy which depicts such a world.

But somehow I can't believe in it. We are talking camp counsellors for grown up Americans, for a generation that really doesn't believe in much. It's a Prohibition era in the making.

eric said...

"Bittman and Freudenberg were talking about guns, cars, smoking, food, and drink — the things those with leftish leanings feel that government ought to control."

You forgot the freedom to associate. That's another thing the government wants to control.

Alan Abraham said...

If you are looking for a Software Development Company in Delhi you can check this site http://www.acetechindia.com/

gregq said...

So, the leftists will be completely ok with government censorship of books that have sexual content, because those books are sold by corporations?